Wresch Dawidjian has kept his finger on this town's pop pulse for five years as the dance music buyer for Olsson's Records and president of the Mid-Atlantic Record Pool. Now he's ready to set his own "spinoff" in motion.

On May 17, Dawidjian will open Twelve Inches Dance Records, specializing in dance discs, at 2010 P Street NW. That's the heart of Dupont Circle's dance club scene, near new wave spots like Cagney's and Whispers, and gay dance clubs like the Fraternity House and Badlands. Dawidjian plans to capitalize on the location by keeping the store open till 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with club-style music provided by live deejays testing new records in- store.

Eighty percent of the stock in the new shop will be in the 12-inch single format, which isn't just for professional deejays anymore, having made significant sales inroads and musical impact in recent years. In addition to domestic singles (it seems every artist must release an extended "remix" of his record these days), Dawidjian will spotlight hard-to-find oldies and imports. SOUND ADVICE

BMI, the music-licensing company, is sponsoring two three-hour songwriters' symposiums next week at the National Press Club -- and they're free. No registration is required for either session (one runs 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, the other 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday), but leave the cassettes home: No song evaluations at this symposium, just panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions.

The panelists: writer-producer Sandy Linzer ("Workin' My Way Back to You"; Kool & the Gang's current hit, "Fresh"); Earl Shelton, president of Mighty Three Music Group; BMI attorney and copyright authority Gary Roth; and panel moderator Bobby Weinstein, songwriter("Goin' Out of My Head," "Hurt So Bad") and BMI executive. The number to call for more information: 682-7361. HAR, HAR, HAR

At Friendship Station this Sunday night, three Washington comedy duos -- Kitchen Help, the Video Pirates and the Pheromones -- meld their separate Strange Ways into one show (actually two shows, at 9 and 11). Local rockers 3 D.C. fill out the bill.

Your bill, due at the door, should be a $5. Further details at 966- 5682.